From left, Monroe County Mayor Michelle Coldiron; County Commissioner for District 5 Mike Forster; state Rep. Jim Mooney; former state Rep. Holly Raschein; state Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez; Kate DeLoach, partner with Southern Strategy Group and Keys History & Discovery Center board of directors; and Dave Shepp, lobbyist with Southern Strategy Group, attend a gathering with Mote officials in May.

A community grieved on the morning of Sept. 6, as news spread of Mike Forster’s passing following a battle with COVID-19. On Facebook, a flood of posts brought words of sadness over the loss of someone who embodied what it meant to be an active member within the community.

Many also relayed thoughts of praise and thanks for Forster, 61, who constantly paid it forward and gave back. Forster was more than a passionate public official and a restaurant owner who boasted awards for some of the best breakfasts around. He supported students and first responders.

He loved his pets and enjoyed a day off out at Flamingo. He started the morning by posting uplifting messages to Facebook for his community of followers to see. The Sept. 16 edition of Keys Weekly will look at how Forster influenced and shaped many lives. Those wishing to share their story or pictures of Forster, please contact Jim McCarthy, editor, at [email protected]

A group convenes to hash out a plan to feed Upper Keys families in May 2020. From left, Carlos Hernandez, owner of Harriette’s Restaurant in Key Largo; Sam Prescher, of Harriette’s Restaurant; Mike Forster, Mangrove Mike’s Cafe owner and founder of Mangrove Mike’s Endeavors; Michala Laufle, volunteer; and Violet Wahba, owner of Key Lime Products. JIM McCARTHY/Keys Weekly